I took part in the Beast 30km Trail Run and absolutely loved it. But I also relearnt a few trail lessons. I’ve been trail running for years now and racing a fair few too. But just when you think you’ve got it waxed, something will come up and bite you (sometimes literally!). Here’s what the Beast taught me…
Lesson 1: Shoes, shoes, shoes
I’m a huge advocate for the fact that running is a simple sport. By that I mean you just need to put on a good on a pair of shoes and you’re set. Problem? The shoes don’t always want to play along. This time, I tied my shoes way too tight. So tight that I cut off all circulation in my left foot.
My thinking behind this had been: Tie them tight so your feet don’t slip around and you’ll be better on the technical. In theory, not a bad plan. In reality, a completely numb left foot which resulted in three annoying but necessary stops to readjust. This meant that, once I’d revived my left tootsies, I had to play catch-up. Plus, another fun game I like to call “Sorry–can–I–please–pass?”. That brings me to lesson nombre dos.
Lesson 2: Don’t let the haters get you down
Most trail runners are pleasant, easy-going people. Most of them will let you pass no problem, even on a single track – and they’ll even encourage you on your way. But there are a select few that get a little ego sore. Especially of the male variety. Especially when it’s a girl coming past. I had a few “show-off” comments, and, “Yes, you can pass, but it’s not like you’ll get anywhere” as I tried to get back to my previous position.
That being said, there were also great comments like, “You’re flying, come past, you go girl!” As a sensitive snowflake, I often let the negative comments get to me. The lesson here: Take it all with a pinch of salt. Know your worth and prove the haters wrong.
Lesson 3: Underestimating yourself
That’s right: Kknow your worth. Another lesson I often have to relearn. I arrive at a race and everyone looks so speedy and profesh. I forget about the hours of training I’ve put in and head to the back of the start-up line. The race kicks off and I find myself running at a pace that is far too slow.
Back to that fun game from lesson number one. Even if you don’t line up right at the front, place yourself in a position to do your best. At Beast I ended up fourth woman across the line – which just goes to show why you should back yourself. If you don’t believe in your own ability, you’re already starting on the back foot. Back yourself, guurl.